"Beware of your friends;1 do not trust your brothers.2 For every brother is a deceiver,a3 and every friend a slanderer.45
Friend deceives friend,5 and no one speaks the truth.6 They have taught their tongues to lie;7 they weary themselves with sinning.
Youb live in the midst of deception;8 in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me," declares the LORD.
Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says: "See, I will refine9 and test10 them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?
Their tongue11 is a deadly arrow; it speaks with deceit. With his mouth each speaks cordially to his neighbor,12 but in his heart he sets a trap13 for him.149
Should I not punish them for this?" declares the LORD. "Should I not avenge15 myself on such a nation as this?"
I will weep and wail for the mountains and take up a lament concerning the desert pastures.16 They are desolate and untraveled, and the lowing of cattle is not heard. The birds of the air17 have fled and the animals are gone.
"I will make Jerusalem a heap18 of ruins, a haunt of jackals;19 and I will lay waste the towns of Judah20 so no one can live there."2112
What man is wise22 enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the LORD and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross?
The LORD said, "It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law.2314
Instead, they have followed24 the stubbornness of their hearts;25 they have followed the Baals, as their fathers taught them."